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Professional Goto Telescope controller

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#1 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 06:12 PM

Hello Starfriends,

we as a new Company in the Astro scene have made it our goal to offer you advanced and innovative technology at affordable prices. Here we like to introduce a new High End Goto Telescope controller, which not only have worldwide unique features but also convinced with a professional design, a innovative use, modern electronic parts and a first class product support.

We, our self astro-photographers since many years, are assured that our World novelty, the LittleFoot Elegance Photo, will meet your needs of a professional and affordable Goto Telescope Controller.

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The LittleFoot Elegance Photo offers both the professional astro-photographers, as well as the visual observers a great wealth of functions. Whether it's to shoot perfect Astrophotos, or take an extended star walk. The LittleFoot Elegance Photo is equipped for all these tasks well, and thanks to the intuitive handling the controller is ideal for beginners as well. In addition, the basic version already offers a function scope that you can’t get by other telescope control systems even for a lot of money. Even more, the LittleFoot Elegance Photo has enough potential to also meet demands of growing requirements to new features far into the future.

Of course, the LittleFoot Elegance Photo supports the LX200 protocol, and it can be used with almost any planetarium programs such as CdC, The Sky, or Guide.

We have extensively tested the telescope control.

With the huge range of functions and the precision the LittleFoot Elegance Photo is unique on the Astro market!


A particularly important point when buying a product is the question: How will the product be maintained and updated?
The LittleFoot Elegance Photo is a ultra-modern stepper motor controller and since it is an ongoing project where almost every day work on extensions and improvements is done, the control software is developed by a large group of software developers, only rarely several months without improvements and/or extensions will pass by. This guarantees that you own a modern and well maintained high-end product even tomorrow!

Of course, in the LittleFoot Elegance Photo only components from current production are used. In addition, we like to point to our RoHs declaration.

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Here is an excerpt from the feature list:

  • Ultrafast Multi processorsystem (3 Microcontroller)
  • 1/64 Microstepping at RA and DEC
  • Fast GOTO (up to 640x) over the known Planetarium-Programs, the Display with the internal Object catalogues, the Goto-Tour or the Planet position calculation
  • Build in USB Interface (Standard at a modern system as the serial Interface is dying at modern computers! An RS232 interface is of course also available.)
  • New and modern graphical Display with red backlight illumination
  • Full automatic Temperature control for the Display heather, handy at cold winter nights!
  • Autoguiding (LX200) over the built in USB- or RS232- Interface
  • A ST- 4 compatible Autoguidinginterface
  • Support for the LX200 PulseGuide Commands
  • PEC-Table with 1024 Entries for a even better correction of the periodic error !
  • PEC Data stay valid, thanks to the Autopark function, after controller is switched off!
  • Several Tracking-Speeds (i.E. Siderial / Solar / Lunar)
  • Small correction speeds configurable
  • Backlash compensation with configurable speeds, self-evident for both axis
  • Intelligent Tracking with IntellyTrack
  • Control of the Telescopefan and the second mirror heather Remote or over the Hand controller
  • Almost all special functions can be controlled via the hand controller!
  • Firmware Updates are installed easily over the Serial- or USB Interface.
  • To even optimize Special setups the Microstepping table is editable for your motor needs.
  • Free programmable for almost all Mounts with Stepper motors (up to 3A Motor current per Motor)
  • Power supply 12V up to 30V DC
  • Detailed and illustrated english Users manual.

But that's not enough:

The following additional functions and interfaces, that are otherwise not available or must be paid extra for a lot of money, are available already in the basic version of the LittleFoot Elegance Photo!

  • To be able to control the LFE Photo world wide, or just from your working room to the garden, a Ethernet Interface is installed, that also supports DHCP.
  • A analog Videointerface for Cameras like Watec©, Mintron©, or Lechner Modul©, can be used later as integrated Stand Alone Autoguider interface.
  • Internal Object catalogue with ca. 5 Million Objects, all common Object catalogues are complete, on a regular SD-Card up to 2 GB memory. A SD-Card Slot is build in the Hand controller.
  • Integrated calculation of the Planet positions incl. Goto and Sync
  • Integrated SkyAgent for easy Object identification of the adjusted Objects
  • Time zone independent battery buffered real time clock with Worldtime function
  • Several observation sites established stored
  • Mount parameters can be stored on the SD-Card
  • The LFE Photo has a build in Interface for optical Encoders for both Axis. The Encoders can be used as digital setting circles!
  • Encoder driven PEC (EPEC)
  • Integrated stepper controller for a Focus motor (Stepperfocuser)
  • Support of the Robofocus Protocol and support of the LX200 Focus Commands
  • The Focus control is also possible over the hand controller
  • A DSLR Remote control connector for several known DSLR Cameras
  • Several free programmable exposure timers for DSLR control over the LittleFoot Elegance Photo
  • The Exposure programs can be stored permanently and can be reloaded and reused
  • Interface to connect a GPS Receiver with data transfer oft the location data, time and date to the real time clock
  • Built in red dimmable reading lamp
  • A Visitor mode for use in astronomical observatories, with password protection is also included.
  • An expansion slot for connection of accessories such as Temperature, humidity and cloud sensor.
  • and much more!
Additional details concerning the features available on our Website!

We can offer you this fantastic and modern Goto telescope controller with all its features and interfaces for an unbeatable best price of ONLY 499,-- Euro!

We ship world wide!, please contact us for shipping costs to your country.

Included in delivery:

Of course we can also offer you stepper motors, motor cables and other accessories. Ask us, we love to meet all your needs at low prices.

Best Regards
Deepsky-Solutions
Andrea Wagner-Steinen
Telefon: +49 (0)208-7671485
e-Mail: contact@deepsky-solutions.com
Web: http://www.deepsky-solutions.com

#2 rodney

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 06:20 PM

Andrea,
Welcome to the Cloudy Nights vendor forum and congratulation on what looks to be a very impressive product you are offering at a great price.

Clear skies,

#3 skybsd

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 04:08 AM

Hi,
Sounds very interesting.

I have a couple of simple, hopefully straight-forward questions that I hope you can answer, please: -

a] Can you provide a list of supported mounts that the controller is natively designed and QA'd to work with, please?

b] Do you include compatible mount RA + DEC cables or corresponding adapters that connect to the controller, or would end users need to source these themselves?

c] Your post stated that the LAN interface supports DHCP, does it also support static IP addressing?

d] Is it possible to configure the controller via the LAN interface?

Thanks.

Regards,

skybsd

#4 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:16 PM

Hi skybsd,

a] Can you provide a list of supported mounts that the controller is natively designed
and QA'd to work with, please?

this would be a very long list. :grin:
The Controller is freely programmable and will support almost every mount with stepper
motors. ;)
If you have a special setup, i.e. self made, just ask us with your technical details.

b] Do you include compatible mount RA + DEC cables or corresponding adapters that
connect to the controller, or would end users need to source these themselves?

Motor cables are not included, but we offer cables for your setup. Even special cables
connectors are possible as long we can buy them.

c] Your post stated that the LAN interface supports DHCP, does it also support static
IP addressing?

yes, static IP, Router and Subnet configuration is possible as well.

d] Is it possible to configure the controller via the LAN interface?

Most of the configuration can be done over the LAN interface too, but special things like
firmware updates need to be done over the USB- or RS232 interface.

Best regards,

Deepsky-Solutions

#5 jrcrilly

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:48 PM

this would be a very long list. :grin:
The Controller is freely programmable and will support almost every mount with stepper
motors. ;)


That sounds like a short list, especially if it is restricted to those capable of usable slew rates. I can't think of one. Care to name a few?

#6 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:17 PM

Hi jrcrilly,

That sounds like a short list, especially if it is restricted to those capable of usable slew rates. I can't think of one. Care to name a few?


here the short list. ;)

CI700,GM8,G11,Titan,G42,Fornax,APM GE300,EQ6,HEQ5,EQ5,ADM,
Syntrek,Syncan,GP,GP-DX,GP-D2, Celestron CAM,CG5,EQ 1,2,3,4 and many more. :bow:

best regards

DeepSky-Solutions

#7 jrcrilly

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:49 PM

here the short list. ;)

CI700,


Sold. Maybe. Or maybe our ideas of a reasonable slew rate differ. Just what slew rate can I expect with your controller on my CI-700?

#8 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 03:27 PM

Hi John,

Or maybe our ideas of a reasonable slew rate differ.

the max. slew rate is not a question of what mount you have. It is simply a question of what
motorkit you are useing.

With a standard EQ-6 and the original steppers you can't reach a 640x rate, but with our
nanotec or the syntrek (sanyo denki) steppers 640x is no problem at all. In fact any mount is
capable to slew fast, you just need good steppers and a controller like our LFE Photo! ;)

Also the LittleFoot Elegance Photo is not "just" a goto controller. Just review the feature list
and you will see it is also a Robofocus system, has a build in DSLR remote control, can be
used as digital setting circles with a very huge (5 Million!) object database, will show you what
object you are pointing on (SkyAgent :D), GPS, and much more. A goto only controller is one
thing, the LFE Photo is much more then a simple goto system. And all this in a stand alone
version with no need of a PC! :cool:

Best regards,

DeepSky-Solutions

#9 skybsd

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 05:36 PM

Hi,
Thanks for the responses to my questions - very grateful for that.

I had a look at the manual, and I have more questions, to be honest.

1] Was this mount controller designed for a particular mount?

2] Let's say I have a Losmandy G-11 Gemini or Celestron CGE, what exactly would the requirements be for replacing Gemini or NexStar respectively with LFE Photo?

3] The manual does not include any instructions or procedures for replacing an existing GoTo system with LFE Photo

4] Are there no requirements or set up procedures needed for initializing LFE Photo for a given mount?

5] Do you have plans to provide example set up documentation for common mounts that customers are likely to have now

6] Are all the connectors on the controller grounded and fused where necessary?

7] Is the assembly housing for both the hand controller and main processing unit sealed against condensation and rain, etc?

If the manual is the only document available at this time, its difficult to see how someone like myself can just buy this product and simply replace (as in my case) my Gemini or NexStar GoTo systems with LFE Photo and immediately start using it.

Thanks.

Regards,

skybsd

#10 mclewis1

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:39 PM

Tried to correct the previous statement about servo vs. stepper motors. It gets too complicated to edit my previous post so I'm going to pull it and re write it with updated information.

#11 anat

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 12:17 AM

Hi Andrea,

How is the AG-Video used for stand-alone autoguiding? Is any computer required?

Anat

#12 skybsd

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 05:00 AM

Hello,

With respect to which mount this new controller would work with ...

If I understand the LFE Photo correctly (and that is a big IF) it works with stepper and not servo motor equipped mounts so the Celestron goto mounts would not be a candidate. This also means that you have to be careful with the list of mounts listed above. The CG-5 was mentioned, I believe that this would be an older CG-5 or a manual CG-5 with a motor upgrade kit and not the CG-5A or ASGT model. I believe that one way to look at compatibility would be the presence of the Nexstar handcontroller. If the mount has the NexStar HC it has servo motors and is therefore not a candidate for the LFE Photo.


Hang on a minute.

I'm simply going by what the vendor had previously supplied as a "short-list" of suupported mounts here.

For instance, Losmandy Titan was included (along with the G42 and G11, etc). For sure the Losmandy Titan uses servo motors - hence my seeking clarification on requirements and associated procedures for using the LFE Photo on other similarly driven mounts.

Regards,

skybsd

#13 jrcrilly

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:19 AM

I'm simply going by what the vendor had previously supplied as a "short-list" of suupported mounts here.

For instance, Losmandy Titan was included (along with the G42 and G11, etc). For sure the Losmandy Titan uses servo motors


Some other mounts on that list have never been offered with steppers, and most of them are supplied with steppers that I believe are incapable of the necessary speed. I now believe that what's being said is that the controller could be made to work with all of those mounts but that a motor transplant would be necessary for many of them. That would kill it for me. If I were willing go to the effort of fabricating the parts required for that I'd have already done an Autostar or SS2K conversion.

I hope the vendor clarifies this. Can I connect this controller to my CI-700?

#14 mclewis1

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:24 AM

My earlier post was waaaay to simplistic. My appologies if it mislead anyone. I'll repost after some more info from the vendor.

#15 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:15 PM

Hi skybsd,

1] Was this mount controller designed for a particular mount?

no, the controller is freely programmable and will support almost every mount with stepper
motors.

2] Let's say I have a Losmandy G-11 Gemini or Celestron CGE, what exactly would
the requirements be for replacing Gemini or NexStar respectively with LFE Photo?

First, both systems uses servo motors so you can't connect the LFE Photo to those type of
motors. Second we offer ESCAP motor kits for the Losmandy mounts so there is no need to
buy the gemini system. Why buy a gemini controller if you like to use the LFE Photo? If you
have a Losmandy with the original stepper motors and like to have high slewing rates, the
hurst or burges motors do not allow high slewing rates, you can replace the motors with our
ESCAP motor kits or you can attach encoders and use the build in digital setting circles
function. Both will enable a high pointing speed.

3] The manual does not include any instructions or procedures for replacing an
existing GoTo system with LFE Photo

Yes, as mention before the LFE Photo can be used with almost all mounts that uses stepper
motors. It is simply not possible to describe every and each combination of mount and motor.
If you like to replace your current controller, or go for a new one, just contact us and we love
to help you with the required parts and information. We can offer you Motors, cables and
every thing else you need to start. A global you need this and that is simply not possible with
all the different mount-, motor- and gear combinations out there.

4] Are there no requirements or set up procedures needed for initializing LFE Photo
for a given mount?

All you need to know are 3 things.

1. The size of the wormwheel, for a G11 this would be 360
2. The gearbox reduction ratio, for our ESCAP motors this would be 12:1
3. The Stepangle of the motor, for a ESCAP motor this would be 3,6°

That's all you need to know and if you like we also offer a ready to use and set up controller
with no extra costs. ;)

5] Do you have plans to provide example set up documentation for common mounts
that customers are likely to have now

There is a large community around the LFE Photo and you can find a lot information by
useing google. Also we can assist you with the required information.

6] Are all the connectors on the controller grounded and fused where
necessary?

yes.

7] Is the assembly housing for both the hand controller and main processing unit
sealed against condensation and rain, etc?

:grin: is there any controller out there that can meet this requirement? No, it's simply not
possible to seal a SD-Card Slot or a Ethernet socket but there is no problem with dew and I
belief you do not use your equipment while it is raining. ;)

If the manual is the only document available at this time, its difficult to see how
someone like myself can just buy this product

Just contact us with your requirements and we will find a way for you. We also offer a
excelent support for the LFE Photo. ;)

Regards,

Deepsky-Solutions

#16 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:18 PM

Hi Mark,

If I understand the LFE Photo correctly (and that is a big IF) it works with stepper and
not servo motor equipped mounts

this is correct, but almost every mount can be equiped with stepper motors as well. ;)

I believe that one way to look at compatibility would be the presence of the Nexstar
handcontroller.

if you like to stay with the noisy servo motors yes, if the requirement is to go for a silent
system, no.

If my comments above are correct do you know of any method of using the very
impressive LFE Photo with servo motor equipped mounts? For example is an external
interface or adapter even remotely feasible?

No, such interface would cost more then a new set of motors. Second, servo motors are
mostly very noisy, specially at high slew rates, and as we use the equipment at night,
specially in large towns this is a problem, we do not plan to wake up our sleeping neighbors.
Sure in the US this might not be such a big problem as it is in the european countrys.

Regards

DeepSky-Solutions

#17 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:20 PM

Hi Anat,

How is the AG-Video connector used for stand-alone autoguiding?

the stand alone autoguider firmware is not available yet and will be available with one of the
next firmware updates. The AG Feature is still under developement and testing. The build in
video interface support all kind of PAL/NTSC analog video cameras so the system will work
similar as your LVI (except you can use any analog video source) or the
TV Guider. Our goal, not reached yet, is to
have a system that replaces almost all other equipment that you buy as external
components. Our idea is a "All in one" controller so you do not need to by a Goto Controller,
SkyScout, RoboFocus, Autoguider, Telescope Drive Master, DSLR Shutter controller, Digital
setting circles and much more. Only one! device, no cable tangle and no need of a hole
bunch of external required interfaces. Most of our idea is already implemented and the AG
will follow in the future. ;)

Regards,

DeepSky-Solutions

#18 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:22 PM

Hi John,

why make it so complicated? The LittleFoot Elegance Photo is a stepper controller so you
need steppers to use it. If you like to use DC motors then you need a DC controller. :grin:

I now believe that what's being said is that the controller could be made to work with
all of those mounts but that a motor transplant would be necessary for many of them.

right, you will need stepper motors as the LFE Photo is a stepper controller and if the motors
are not capable to go as fast as you like you have to deside if you change the motors or use
encoders and the build in digital setting circles feature. You can buy almost all mounts with
no controller or a simple one. No one would pay a 1500 US$ for a servo system to switch
over to a stepper driven one. It's a simple decision, if you like to use the LFE Photo you need
capable motors and if you like to go for servos you need some other controller that may not
offer you such amount of features. ;)

That would kill it for me.

What is no problem at all. If you are happy with your current setup why change it and spend
money? We are fully aware of that we can't make all starfriends happy. ;)

Can I connect this controller to my CI-700?

Yes, if you are useing stepper motors.

Best regards,

DeepSky-Solutions

#19 jrcrilly

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:25 PM

Second we offer ESCAP motor kits for the Losmandy mounts


Price? Is all necessary hardware (brackets, etc.) included?

#20 DeepSkySolutions

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 03:04 PM

Hello John,

please let us talk about rates by pn.

Kind regards

DeepSky-Solutions

#21 skybsd

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:46 AM

Hello,
Thanks for your responses.

Whilst I am happy to determine that this product is not suitable for my situation, can I suggest that you invest in more comprehensive documentation for the product?

You were the one that stated that your product is compatible with the Losmandy Titan (and others) that ships with servo motors, but later on you stated that it only works with stepper motors, and that an after-market mod is required in order for servo motor based mounts to work with your product.

This information is best made available via product documentation - for most other commercial manufacturers, these are commonly included within requirements and specifications sections of product documentation available from the manufacturer themselves - and not from online forums and user-community resources.

Further, if there IS such a large community out there, why not include links to these under the product's support pages on your website. Personally I was put off by your directing me to go "google for more information". I'm sure that I'm not the only purchaser who prefers to obtain documented product requirements and specifications information directly from the manufacturer.

Regards,

skybsd

#22 Anand Rajiva

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:01 AM

Hi skybsd,

nice conversation. :smirk:

but later on you stated that it only works with stepper motors

:shocked:

[*]Free programmable for almost all Mounts with Stepper motors (up to 3A Motor current per Motor)

:question:

Further, if there IS such a large community out there

It's not the vendors discussion forum but you are welcome to visit the private LittleFoot Community and hopefully a Community with over 1600 Members :shocked: IS large enough to get in touch with others useing a LittleFoot controller. :grin:

Just my two Cents to this discussion about why a stepper controller is not able to drive Servomotors. :gotpopcorn:

Clear skies!

#23 skybsd

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:22 AM

Hello,
Good to hear from you..,

As your colleague previously advised - if I already have Gemini, why would I want to bother with this product or expense of (so far, undocumented and uncosted) required mods?

Regards,

skybsd

#24 Anand Rajiva

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:54 AM

As your colleague previously advised

I am not involved in the vendors company. :shameonyou:

#25 skybsd

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:01 AM

Hello,
I do apologize.

I incorrectly determined a relationship given a name similar to yours being linked at the vendor's support page - as well as the fact that you elected to choose the vendor's product where most folks have their avatars.

Regards,

skybsd






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